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Redefining space
On the light objects of Hans Kotter

The light-based works of Hans Kotter show a pluriverse of optical possibilities that break through the boundaries of space and extend it on a material and immaterial basis. Light objects in dark spatial structures define perceptual patterns of colour and spectral formations of changing intensity, enabling the artist to set fundamental architectural parameters in motion. Through his objects, Kotter creates illusionary worlds which not only sound out the physical dimensions of light, but also control the viewers' perception in technically refined material combinations.

Each of Kotter's artworks not only tries to re-define the given surroundings and in particular also the interior of the respective object and to change it based on light-generated structures. Bodies of light become bodies of space, which as chimeras push the technical conditions to imaginability limits of what is visible and make the pieces turn into scientifically sophisticated apparatuses. As a result, Kotter takes over the power of definition over the respective space and the underlying parameters, in which light serves as a starting point of an artistically analytical calculation of space. The artist transfers moments of electromagnetic radiation into the field of visibility of the human eye and challenges it to review formations of visual presentation modes that are usually difficult to calculate. The immediacy of perception changes primarily depending on the position of the viewer, in some cases the artist even determines the viewer's exact point of view in order to enable them to experience the congruence of light and space in optimal agreement. What Kotter demonstrates is not just an expression of artistic considerations, but the result of an elaborate examination of the possibilities of electromagnetic waves and the effect of the waves, which comes into play due to the light-artistic movement in, around and on the objects. The possibilities of wave-dynamic propagation in terms of colour or, very simply, a supposed "white" light evaluation are at the centre of the relationships of clarity, which define the effect of the objects in their singularity or their plural arrangement in space.

Whether in linear propagation like in geometrical optics or in wave-like module formation, Kotter's art objects suggest spatial moments that in the dark of viewing generate worlds whose factuality is artistically motivated. How do optical illusion and technically reproducible spatial conditions caught between artistic reality and the transcendental function of understanding act? Art and science serve as a symbiotic momentum of a transfer of realities, which is technically motivated and transposes reality into different formats of what is possible. Kotter examines the possibilities of photometric sensation in the most precise manner and realises them in a spatially controlled structure. The dimension these possibilities can take on can be newly experienced in the respective framework of presentation. The spatial context of the presentation defines the spatial content of the object, which may appear real and fictional at the same time. The reference to what is real is founded in the control of seemingly fictional, however technically realisable, methods of visualisation, which provide references to the said possibilities. The seriality of light-sensitive radiation is thus transposed into a materialisation of artistic reflection.

The experimental arrangements that can be tested in Kotter's light objects are shown in the results in which the experiment is transformed into an artistic patent. The most recent objects bear witness of dealing with formations of "white" light. Although not actually realisable in practice, at least nuances of different colour temperatures and graduations of white can be perceived. This is what the artist uses to produce radiating objects, in which light is directed in multiple directions causing kaleidoscope-like schemes of perception. Forms of three-dimensional spatial elements are seemingly taken to infinity while the objects in their entirety take on a concrete shape. Light mixed of portions of all wavelengths of the visible spectral range is often propagated through glow sticks and evokes magical fields of visual aesthetics. Mesmerising formations of light scattering expand in space and create new materialisation levels of light allowing viewers to focus on different aspects. The effects thus created demonstrate moments of the sublime, emphasising the light space in the body of space. Levels of visibility open out into invisibility spots of darkness caused by the presence and absence of light and its materialisation and dematerialisation in space. The oscillations and movements create new spaces in space which suddenly appear, but may disappear just as fast. LED lights, fluorescent light tubes, glass, plexi, mirrors, metal and other materials serve Kotter as a basis for the creation of his light-art works, which continuously take on different shapes and in their reference test any conceivable forms of dealing with light. In doing so, the artist defines and tries ever new special arrangements which in one of the most recent works make an exact positioning of the object and its components necessary.

If a universally valid statement is to be made about Kotter's works, it is difficult to categorise them since their appearance and technical finish open up new spaces of image and thought. Whether in an interaction of colour or black-and-white aesthetics focusing on a shadow effect, the result amazes in what is artistically conceivable and technically feasible. Whether subtle or hidden in a niche of the wall, suspended from the ceiling, exuberantly taking over the room or nearly breaking it open, Kotter's objects form light sculptures bearing the potential of unexpected appearances that can be exposed to moments of impermanence or consistently change their shape in a rhythmical sequence of presentation. Repetition and standstill, Big Bang and black hole, everything is possible, everything remains open.

Walter Seidl

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